Tag Archive | Dystopia

Book #38 – The Maze Runner

by James Dashner blog

I came late to this party of Dashner books, but the benefit of that is the sequels are already written.  Young friends bought and delivered me this book to read – that is high praise.  For teenagers to not only love the material, but purchase it and encourage others to enjoy it, is impressive.  So glad for the gift of a book as well as a new favorite series.  Even before finishing Maze Runner, I downloaded book two for a seamless continuation of the story.

This is a futuristic, dystopian young adult novel set in a world created by unknown people for unknown reasons.  Populating the world are  boys/teenagers who appear at regular intervals, delivered in a mysterious “box” and without memories of themselves or previous lives.  The boys have created their own society, and operate in a system which requires working to maintain their lives, but also to determine a way out of this maze in which they live.  Unlike the chaos which naturally developed in the classic “Lord of the Flies”, this society maintains order and all serve a purpose.

I have enjoyed YA novels for years, and when my own boys were growing up, we frequently listened to them on audiobooks for long car rides.  This ended, however, when they were old enough to realize most YA books feature young girls.  Their vehement protests that they were not interested in teen girls saving the world led us away from fiction and to non-fiction.  Not a terrible thing, but what I liked about Maze Runner is that this was a book young men could read.  Girls can enjoy it as well, but it was just nice to have male characters featured who were not vampires in love.

4.5/5 Stars



Book #28 – The Office of Mercy

by Ariel Djanikian book

That moment when just a few chapters in you realize you are not reading the book, but living in the book – ahhhh.  I love that feeling.  Lately I have found this to be a rare experience, but new author Ariel Djanikian has crafted a novel which transports the reader into another world.

Dystopian fiction is suddenly the new favorite genre of many, but my love of this type of fiction goes back to junior high in the late 70s when I was introduced to “This Perfect Day”, “Brave New World”,  and “1984”.  I have continued to seek out these types of books, and am so happy to be able to add this one to my list of favorites.  I enjoyed it so much, even before finishing the novel, I purchased the audio version to listen to and experience the book being read to me.  Yes, that’s how much I loved this book.

“Office” is set in the future in a world created by our ancestors who have survived an apocalyptic-like event.  Their new society is clean, safe, comfortable, and protected from the still dangerous outside world.  The founders created a code of ethics by which to live, and at first glance, it seems perfectly reasonable.  Ah, but once the reader understands the extremes to which this government goes in order to fulfill what it sees as its duties, the reader must question his own ethics.  This novel provokes self examination.

So excited to see what Djanikian writes next.

5/5 Stars

Book #13 – Son

by Lois Lowry son

After years of waiting, and not even expecting a fourth book, Lois Lowry fans were treated to a fabulous conclusion of “The Giver” series.  I started reading these YA novels when I had young adults living at home!  For those who are unfamiliar with the series, a brief synopsis:

“The Giver” published in 1993 takes place in a utopian society with clean streets, and apparently happy people.  The world works because there isn’t chaos and emotion.  People fill roles needed in society, raise kids if allowed, and everything seems hunky dory.  But, alas, what would be interesting about that?  This book features main character Jonas as he begins his assigned job working for his community.

“Gathering Blue” published 7 years later in 2000 (and fans were happy to finally get another taste!) takes place in the same time period, but different location, and features imperfect Kira and her job as a weaver.

“The Messenger” came out in 2004 and takes place about 8 years after the first book.  What is cool is that a character introduced in Gathering Blue, Matty, is now the featured character and his role as a peacemaker in a place which clearly has no pretense of being utopian.

Finally, 19 years after it began, “Son” the final book was published.  As a longtime fan, just getting to step back into a world I entered as a much younger person, had great sentimentality.  I can’t say “Son” was the best in the series (you can’t beat “The Giver”), but it was really nicely done.  The story starts within the time frame of “The Giver” and we see events from the perspective of a new character, Claire.  This was a nice way to bring us back into the world begun almost two decades earlier.

The story then moves forward showing Claire’s life after the “perfect” world which she left; and concludes in the the future showing what happened to all our favorite friends.  The only downside to recommending “Son” is you really need to read the first three books to fully appreciate this one.  But, hey, I just gave you four books perfect for enjoying this summer at the beach.

5/5 Stars